Alaska history buffs who appreciate outstanding archival photography are familiar with the studio name of Winter & Pond. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Lloyd V. Winter (1866-1945) and Edwin Percy Pond (1872-1943) compiled a vast catalog of photographs depicting the people and places of the North, particularly around Southeast Alaska and into the Klondike.
San Francisco artist Lloyd Valentine Winter was the fourth of five children born to Englishman Robert Winter, an artist and "picture dealer," and his wife, Josephine, of Maryland. The Winters cultivated their children's strengths in art, music, and the trades. Their eldest, Emma, was a music teacher; William worked as a plumber; Charles went to school, as did Lloyd. The youngest child, Henry, was born when Josephine was in her 40s and Robert in his 50s. In the 1880 federal census of San Francisco, when Lloyd was 14, the Winter family was sharing a home with an Edward Gage, a 40-year-old man who worked in a photograph gallery, which perhaps influenced the youngster in his future career choice.
Winter arrived in Juneau in March 1890, and later was invited to work with photographer George M. Landerkin. Together they established the Landerkin & Winter studio, a partnership that lasted until 1893, when Winter's longtime friend Percy Pond landed in Juneau. In 1894, Pond bought out Landerkin's interests and the Winter & Pond studio eventually expanded to include sales of Alaska curios as well as special-order photography and other commercial assignments.
Unlike other photographers of their time, many of whom traveled only in the summer months, Winter and Pond stayed in Alaska year-round, photographing diverse subjects, such as Tlingit families arriving for a potlatch, miners pausing on the trail with their laden sleds, workmen laying the Juneau-Skagway Telegraph Cable, and Chilkat dancers in their fine regalia. The Winter & Pond photograph collection, held at the Alaska State Library in Juneau, also is rich with early scenes of Juneau, its people, local celebrations, the Klondike Gold Rush, and other mining activity.
Winter's ability to speak a Native language was helpful when the duo surreptitiously observed a Haida dance ceremony in 1894. When the men were discovered, the dancers warned them that it was a secret ceremony for Haida eyes only. In time they were adopted into the tribe, however, and each received a Native name. Winter was given the name Kinda, the word for winter. And Pond was dubbed Kitch-ka, or Crow Man. Their keen interest in photographing Alaska Natives before, during, and after the great Klondike Gold Rush, in both formal and informal settings, made a significant contribution to Alaska Native cultural studies. And through many years of interaction with Tlingit people, the photographers gained knowledge about certain traditional practices and cultural history. They published a handful of books on Alaska Native subjects, and anthropologist Edward L. Keithahn, author of a 1945 book about totem poles titled Monuments in Cedar, acknowledged Winter and Pond as a source for information about the early Chilkat people.
Winter followed the Trail of '98 into the Yukon himself in the winter of 1897-98, creating stereographic images for Underwood & Underwood, and providing the nationwide readers of Leslie's Weekly with up-to-date images of Gold Rush activity. Winter & Pond also were named the official Alaska photographers for the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, held in Seattle in 1909.
Community service in Juneau was important to both men. They served as volunteers in the Juneau Fire Department, Hose Company No. 1. In 1915, Winter accepted the post of Patron in the Order of the Eastern Star, Juneau Chapter No. 7. Pond married a woman named Hattie, who appears in several images in the Winter & Pond collection, and they became parents.
Between 1915 and 1925, the Winter & Pond Company also owned and operated mining claims near Juneau, and a collection of photographs of their mining activity is included in the Alaska State Library archives.
The partnership of Winter & Pond ended with Pond's death at age 71 on June 1, 1943. He was buried four days later in the Pioneer section of Juneau's Evergreen Cemetery. Lloyd V. Winter died in November 1945 at age 79, and was buried on November 13 in the Masonic section of the same cemetery. Earlier that year, Winter had passed the Winter & Pond Company to Francis Harrison, who continued to operate the business until 1956.
Images from the Winter & Pond Studio may be found on the walls of the Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau, as well as in private and public collections all over the country. The Alaska State Library in Juneau holds the bulk of the Winter & Pond Collection, numbering about 3,000 images dating from 1893 to 1943.